British Art Show 9 - My welcome to Aberdeen

Updated: Oct 12, 2021

Click this link to see me talking about my role as Artist Ambassador for BAS9:

What is BAS9?

For those of you who haven't heard of British Art Show before - it is a showcase of the best of UK contemporary art and takes place every 5 years, touring 4 UK cities. It includes a whole range of art including painting and printmaking, sculpture and installation, craft, embroidery, video and moving image, soundscape and performance. Previous shows have included plenty of well known names such as:

Tracey Emin, Damien Hirst, Bridget Riley, Anish Kapoor, Elizabeth Blackadder and David Hockney.

Painters previously exhibited in the show include some of my absolute favourites:

George Shaw, Lynette Yiadom-Boakye and Joan Eardley; with Michael Armitage and Caroline Walker being included in BAS9.

Being an Artist Ambassador

As part of British Art Show 9 (BAS9) in the city of Aberdeen, I worked as an Artist Ambassador sharing my enthusiasm for the show and for contemporary art with audiences of my own friends and family, art student peers and the wider public. This was a wonderful opportunity to use my love of art and the skills from my teaching career to connect with a wide and varied audience and encourage them to enjoy the exhibition and all of the associated events.

Mobile Art School

I spent days out and about in locations around Aberdeen assisting with the Mobile Art School project. Taking art to the streets, we engaged passers by in sculpture, imagining new futures for the city, screen printing, ceramics and drawing experiences.

As a trained primary teacher it was my role to get children and families involved and to encourage their creativity - as well as signposting a visit the BAS9 Show in the Gallery. This sort of outreach project something I really enjoy and we had a great reception from those who took part. It was so interesting to observe the different approaches. adults and children had to the experiences; children getting stuck in straight away with their first idea and adults pausing to think of a "good" idea first.

Spotlight Tours

I developed a close insight to the exhibition works as I viewed them multiple times and researched my favourites to highlight on "Spotlight Tours" of the Show. These tours were around 45 minutes long and I always loved making them interactive and hearing visitors views about their experience alongside sharing my own enthusiasm. The discussion with fellow Grays School of Arts students on the tours was insightful and a highlight, along with chatting to visitors who were new to the world of contemporary art and who had discovered it with excitement and enthusiasm.

Many of the works on show are part of huge, well-researched, collaborative projects and so it was great to help visitors appreciate the scope of projects such as Climavore by Cooking Sections, Away With the Birds by Hannah Tuulikki and the commissioned film and ceramics piece Crude Care by Florence Peake.

Reflections on the Experience

Working as an ambassador was a wonderful way to find my feet in a new city and to connect with other creatives. I am excited to see what the legacy of this exhibition will be in the area and I enjoyed the opportunity to meet the other ambassadors and discuss this towards the end of the Show. It has been inspiring to see the work of locals like Look Again, Fertile Grounds and Tactics for Togetherness which will ensure a wider impact to this show.

Certainly for my own practice I have been inspired by the collaborative, research based and interdisciplinary nature of many of the works on show and this will encourage me to push my own practice beyond the traditional boundaries of painting. Watch this space!

Find Out More

British Art Show 9 at Aberdeen Art Gallery opened its' doors in July, with the run finishing on 10 October 2021 - the first time this unrivalled summary of contemporary UK art has ever visited the city. I would 100% recommend catching BAS9 if you haven't already. The rest of the tour is in Wolverhampton followed by Manchester and Plymouth in 2022.

You can find more details on the website here

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